My Attention is Saturated not Scarce!

I keep hearing it over and over again. In the new Media/ Web 2.0 world “attention is scarce.”

Starting with the father of the Attention Economy discussion Michael Goldhaber, continuing through Umair Haque’s brilliant writings at, quoted repeatedly at eTech06, and throughout the blogosphere, this “attention is scarce” theme is resonating. Just do an “attention is scarce” query over on Technorati or Google.

I don’t know about you, but for me the new fundamentals of media 2.0 are not driving attention scarcity. They are driving attention saturation! My attention is saturated not scarce! That is a much different problem for publishers, marketers, advertisers, my family, my friends, my colleagues, and me. That problem requires a different set of tools for the 2.0 consumer and different strategies for the 2.0 marketer and 2.0 media. It means you may need an invitation or a recommendation to get through. It certainly means that Reach and Frequency as a strategy has zero probability of success!

Attention scarcity implies there is attention available. Come on in and I will give some of my remaining scarce attention. Attention saturation implies there is no attention available. It’s all used up. It means you need to displace some already engaged attention to get my attention. Today I own more music, DVDs, magazines subscriptions, tv subscriptions, radio subscriptions, dvd subscriptions, get more RSS feeds, email, ads, offers, marketing, spam, direct mail, have more active online and offline conversations going that I can possibly ever consume.

The New Fundamentals of 2.0 Media

The Old world media was about controlled (by oligopolies) scarcity with the content producer/ aggregator commanding choice leverage:

  • Content Creation is difficult and expensive – requires capital to fund creation – basically the “Hit” game
  • Gatekeepers control limited distribution – in virtually every media market there are 5 top players that control 80% of distribution
  • Bigger audiences are better and move valuable
  • The 30 second spot
  • One-way broadcast model – third party time delayed back channel

The Media 2.0 World is about abundance with the consumer/ prosumer in control of choice leverage:

  • Content Creation is easy and cheap – anybody can do it
  • Distribution is friction free and open – anyone can post an RSS feed
  • Small passionate affinities/ communities are WAY more valuable
  • Word of Mouth
  • Two-way – lot’s of real-time interaction

Shifting The Balance Of Power

Media 1.0 was about FIND. Media 2.0 is about FILTER!

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  1. kcmobile

    You hit the nail on the head… I know I am attention saturated. Love the seesaw graphic :)

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